A call to arms, Americans

Occupy Wall Street protesters demonstrate in New York

Tess Vigeland: We are about three weeks into the Occupy Wall Street protest, which has now spread to cities across the country. The protesters have many messages, but most are upset at big finance and big business.

Humorist Kristina Wong wonders why more people aren't joining in.

Kristina Wong: All week, I've been sipping on Starbucks soy mocha lattes while scouring the web on my iPad 2 for stories about Occupy Wall Street and wondering, "Why aren't more Americans protesting the way people in other countries turn out to protest against corruption?"

I Facebooked my roommate Kim from my new Macbook Pro I bought on eBay, asking her why she thinks Americans don't seem to have the collective gall the Egyptians had to overturn the system. And Kim texted back from across our apartment on her BlackBerry, that she thinks it's because the infrastructure of our livelihood depends on corporations that are too big to fail. While we'd have so much to gain from winning the war against corporate corruption, we'd have so much to lose.

That idea was overwhelming, but especially a downer. Then I totally remembered I had a mortgage payment due. So I'm making an online payment via my AT&T DSL connection to Citibank for my home -- now worth half its purchase value -- and I kept thinking, "Why don't Americans today have courage like those hippies in the 70s and just run away and protest?"

I drove my Ford SUV two blocks from my home to eat at Subway using a Groupon deal that I was alerted to via Twitter, and I unwound with an e-book on my Amazon Kindle. But the question still plagued me, "When will Americans shirk off the corporate trappings of our lives and start a rebel army like they did in Libya?"

On the way home, I fueled up at Chevron and Google chatted my other roommate Eddy asking, "How much worse would it need to get until a majority of Americans to take to the streets?" Eddy texted me back from his Android 4G saying, "Corporations have created the technology to keep everyone connected yet, it's such a frenetic tangle of information that people can be kept from ever really communicating to each other. There's a whole revolution that might be happening out there, but we have to unearth ourselves from the meaningless tweets to find it."

Whew. Anyhow, I'm going to keep ruminating on why Americans aren't protesting as much as they are in other countries as I make another payment on my monstrous student loan with checks from Bank of America.

Vigeland: Kristina Wong is a writer and stand-up comedian here in Los Angeles.

About the author

Kristina Wong is a nationally presented solo performer, writer, actor, educator, culture jammer, and filmmaker.
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Hitting the streets seems fruitless when the revolving door between the Fed, Treasury, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Fanny Mae keeps churning the same oligarchs who fund the lobbyists that fund re-election campaigns. Fanny is still buying bad loans, and Wall Street is still packaging and selling complex instruments. Nothing has changes except the 'too big to fail' banks are even bigger than in 2008. Stopping this will demand sacrifice of lifestyle and physical suffering... two issues we are too soft to deal with. So we roll our eyes, hope someone else fixes it and go check FaceBook.

I have no beef with corporations that produce actual goods and services and sell them for a profit.

What I, and I believe those protesting on Wall Street, have a problem with, is corporations that sell, essentially, nothing—credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, and other "complex financial products"—meaningless number-crunching tricks that add nothing to our economy, and are in fact a huge liability to its well-being.

And I really get livid when the consequences of their irresponsibility get swept under the rug, no questions asked. As a citizen, if I lose $10,000 at the craps table, can I request a check from my elected officials to offset my losses? Didn't think so.

The fact that I own an iPad and use Google doesn't change any of this.

A question for every Republican presidential candidate:

"The Obama administration appears to have delayed (deferred, suspended, or slowed) prosecution and civil litigation against executives of banks, mortgage companies, and other financial entities presumably until the economy recovers sufficiently so as not to interfere with that recovery.

"Do you, sir, plan to reinstitute and/or reinvigorate these deferred investigations, prosecutions, and civil litigations against financial executives and entities implicated in causing the economic collapse when the economy recovers?"

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